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Algal protein in worm neurons allows remote control of behavior by light

ient to prompt the backing behavior in response to blue-light exposure. In fact, the ChR2 expression in mechanosensory neurons allowed the backing behavior to occur (in response to light) even in mutant worms that lacked the C. elegans ion channel that normally mediates backing behavior in response to touch.

The researchers performed electrophysiological experiments to show that the effects they observed were indeed due to the inward flow of ions caused by activation of the ChR2 protein by light; this inward ion flow persisted for the duration of blue-light exposure.

Future work may include studies using forms of ChR2 or related proteins that are sensitive to different wavelengths of light; by allowing remote-control activation of different neurons and muscle cells within an individual animal, such approaches could aid in understanding the circuitry and control of complex behaviors.


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Source:Cell Press


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